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UPDATE | Recap of day 2 of trial for baby’s murder/sexual assault – WSAZ

RIPLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) — UPDATE 3/14/19 @ 6:10 a.m.
Thursday marked day two of the trial for a Jackson County man accused of raping and murdering a 10-month-old girl.

In October 2016, investigators say Emmaleigh Barringer’s mom found her unresponsive and covered in blood when she was in Benjamin Taylor’s care. Emmaleigh died a few days later. Taylor was dating the mother, Amanda Adkins, at the time.

Day one of the trial, on Wednesday, consisted of narrowing in on members of the jury, opening statements, and a very emotional testimony from the victim’s mother. Day two, Thursday, was more about the investigation.

Several officers from different law enforcement agencies took the witness stand to testify. A lot of the questions that were asked were technical: who got to the scene at what time, what they saw, etc.

Most of the officers had consistent memories of that day and the crime scene. They mentioned how hysterical Adkins was on scene, and how Taylor kept lifting up his shirt to show the officers he had dried blood on his chest and torso, but didn’t know where it came from.

Body camera footage and audio recordings of Taylor were shown as evidence in court Thursday. Pictures of the crime scene were also displayed, and a member of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, who evaluated the crime scene, testified. He said processing the scene took several hours.

The defense attorney for Taylor, Tim Rosinsky, has been consistent in saying his client has been falsely accused. He said the investigation should not have just been focused on Taylor, saying investigators should have interviewed neighbors.

Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded, “This particular crime scene didn’t involve what you called the neighborhood. Matter of fact, it is was even more restrictive than the residence itself. It was more restricted than just one level of the residence; it was restricted to one room and particularly one area of that room.”

The pictures of the crime scene in court showed the blood and other evidence was just in one corner of the basement.

Mellinger was also called to come to the scene around 5 a.m.the day of the crime. On the stand, he recalled what that moment was like.

“He says, ‘sorry to wake you, but I think I have a dead baby.’ And you know how things are when you wake up in the middle of the night, you kind of rub your eyes. I asked him to repeat what he just said. He said, ‘I think I have a dead baby, I need you to come out.’ He said he was on scene here and there was an infant child and he believed it had been sexually assaulted. I just kind of sat there for a second trying to process what he was telling me.”

The trial is expected to pick back up at 9 a.m. Friday. Mellinger said still to come is DNA evidence and jail phone call records from Taylor.

UPDATE 3/14/19 @ 12:30 a.m.
Emotional, gut-wrenching and extremely disturbing testimony that was tough for anyone to hear began Wednesday in the rape and murder case of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.

“She was a ten month old child who loved and trusted in the way that only babies can. She didn’t deserve to be sexually assaulted, she didn’t deserve to be murdered. She was innocent,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Katie Franklin.

The defendant, Benjamin Taylor, was Adkins’ boyfriend at the time and is accused of raping and killing the girl on October 2 2016.

In opening statements, the Jackson County Prosecutor told the jury they would hear a lot of gruesome details about how the baby died.

“You’re not going to hear a whole lot about the 10 months she was alive,” she said.

Emmaleigh’s mother, Amanda Adkins woke up that morning and began looking for Taylor. She found him with no shirt on and unbuttoned jeans and Emmaleigh was lying in a pile of blankets on the floor.

“I asked him what he was doing, he said he was drying her off. I asked him why he was drying her off at 5 o’clock in the morning,” Adkins said.

She noticed there was something wrong with the girl’s face and asked him what happened and he told her he didn’t know.

Adkins said she hit Taylor in the face and then picked up her child and went upstairs to call 911.

“She could tell Emmaleigh was covered in blood. She was gasping for breath and she was ice cold,” said Franklin.

The defendant’s lawyer agreed that what happened to the baby is horrible, but said that Taylor is innocent.

“But it’s also tough to think that you’re being accused of it when you didn’t do it,” he said.

During her testimony the girl’s mother reflected on her daughter’s strength in her short life.

“She was born 8 weeks early but she was a fighter,” Adkins said.

UPDATE 3/13/19 @ 12:07 p.m.
The trial of a man from Jackson County accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a 10-month-old baby girl is underway.

Back in October 2016, investigators say Emmaleigh Barringer’s mom found her unresponsive and covered in blood when she was in Benjamin Taylor’s care. Emmaleigh died a few days later.

The jury consists of seven women and nine men.

During opening statements Wednesday, the prosecutor started by telling the jury about the baby. She told the jury they were going to hear a lot about how she died, and not about the life she was supposed to live.

She also told them it’s important to remember the baby was a human being.

Then, Taylor’s lawyer spoke and kept reiterating to the jury what happened to Emmaleigh is terrible, but Taylor has been falsely accused.

After opening statements, the prosecutor called Emmaleigh‘s mom, Amanda, as the first witness. She had a hard time speaking about what happened to her daughter that day. The 911 tapes from that day were also played for the jury to hear.

In previous court appearances, there has been heavy security because of the nature of the case. Taylor has worn a bulletproof vest and helmet in addition to shackles. On Wednesday, Taylor was in dress clothes without any protective gear.

In April 2017, Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill into law that increases the penalty for a person convicted of child abuse causing death. It’s called Emmaleigh‘s Law.

The law increases the penalty for a person convicted for child abuse causing death from 10-40 years in jail to up to 15 years to life.

We have a reporter inside the courtroom. Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 3/11/19 @ 3 p.m.
Jury selection begins Tuesday in the case against a man accused of sexually assaulting and killing an infant.

Benjamin Taylor, of Cottageville, is charged with murder, sexual assault, and child abuse in connection with the death of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.

Cameras will not be allowed inside the courtroom Tuesday. Opening arguments could begin as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators say in October of 2016, Emmaleigh‘s mom found the baby in the basement of her apartment unresponsive and covered in blood. Investigators say Taylor was the mom’s boyfriend.

Deputies say he changed his story several times before telling officers he took the baby to the basement, but “blacked out” and didn’t remember how the injuries happened. Emmaleigh later died in the hospital from her injuries.

In previous court appearances, there has been heavy security because of the nature of the case. Taylor has worn a bulletproof vest and helmet in addition to shackles.

Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 5/31/18 @ 5:08 p.m.
The trial for a man accused of sexually assaulting and killing an infant has been postponed.

Benjamin Taylor, of Cottageville, is charged with murder, sexual assault, and child abuse in connection with the death of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.

According to Judge Richard Craig Tatterson’s office, the trial that was originally set for next week will take place at another time.

Officials say the court will have to appoint new counsel.

Court officials could not comment any further.

Investigators say in October of 2016, Emmaleigh‘s mom found the baby in the basement of her apartment unresponsive and covered in blood.

Taylor was questioned by deputies. Investigators say Taylor was the mom’s boyfriend.

Deputies say he changed his story several times before telling officers he took the baby to the basement, but “blacked out” and didn’t remember how the injuries happened.

Emmaleigh later died in the hospital from her injuries.

UPDATE 11/1/17 @ 4:10 p.m.
The trial for a man accused of sexually assaulting and killing an infant is scheduled to begin next year.

Benjamin Taylor, of Cottageville, is charged with murder, sexual assault and child abuse in connection with the death of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.

Taylor appeared in a Jackson County courtroom Wednesday for a pretrial hearing.

At the hearing, the trial was continued until Feb. 13, 2018.

Another pretrial hearing was scheduled for January.

Investigators say in October 2016, Emmaleigh‘s mom found the baby in the basement of her apartment unresponsive and covered in blood.

Taylor was questioned by deputies. Investigators say Taylor was the mom’s boyfriend.

Deputies say he changed his story several times before telling officers he took the baby to the basement, but “blacked out” and didn’t remember how the injuries happened. Emmaleigh later died in the hospital from her injuries.

UPDATE 8/31/17 @ 6:25 p.m.
A man accused of sexually assaulting and killing an infant was back in court Thursday.

Benjamin Taylor of Cottageville is charged with murder, sexual assault and child abuse in connection with the death of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Barringer.

Investigators say in October 2016, Emmaleigh‘s mom found the baby in the basement of her apartment unresponsive and covered in blood.

Taylor was questioned by deputies. Investigators say Taylor was the mom’s boyfriend.

Deputies say he changed his story several times before telling officers he took the baby to the basement, but “blacked out” and didn’t remember how the injuries happened. Emmaleigh later died in the hospital from her injuries.

Taylor was in court Thursday afternoon for a pre-trial hearing.

No cameras or recording devices were allowed in the courtroom, but WSAZ was the only station with a reporter inside to get the details.

Taylor entered the courtroom through an elevator to the right of the judge’s stand. He was accompanied by several members of law enforcement. At least a dozen officers spread out around the room during the hearing.

On top of his orange jumpsuit, Taylor wore a bulletproof vest and a helmet. His hands and feet were shackled.

The pew behind the defendant’s table, where the public would normally sit, was taped off with yellow sheriff’s tape. The Jackson County Sheriff tells us this was for Taylor’s protection, putting more distance between the suspect and others.

Taylor remained still and emotionless in court. Four people sat in the pews on the left side of the room — Taylor’s side. He turned around before the hearing began and whispered something brief to one of those people who appeared to be loved ones. Otherwise, he remained silent.

Emmaleigh‘s mom was in the courtroom, as well. She, too, was composed and did not show much emotion other than a deep breath at the end of the hearing. No family members wanted to make a comment at this time.

During the hearing, the judge considered different motions filed by the defense, mostly about whether or not certain evidence should be admissible.

Defense attorneys argued that phone records including text messages, social media posts and Internet searches should be thrown out. They said the prosecution “characterizes” and “makes assumptions” about the evidence that the defense attorneys feel will damage the jury. They argued that the state elaborates too much on the phone records (i.e. calling the Internet searches “graphic”) and that it will confuse and taint the jury.

The prosecution argued that the internet searches couldn’t be viewed any way other than graphic. One of the state’s attorneys said Taylor’s phone shows he looked up pornography before the alleged crime. The attorney argued that this speaks to the intent behind the alleged crime, as well as Taylor’s state of mind. She said she must prove intent during the trial, making the evidence essential. Prosecutors also said the phone shows text messages Taylor sent after the alleged crime, implying he would be dead at some point in the future. “It goes to the heart of intent,” prosecutors argued.

The judge said he would likely have a ruling on that motion by next week.

Attorneys also argued about several search warrants including those of the apartment, Taylor’s clothing and his person. The defense said investigators lacked probable cause, while the prosecutors argued that probable cause was there. Both sides decided to wait until the state lab testing results came back before continuing the conversation about whether or not the results should be thrown out. The prosecutor said she was told those results will be in by the week of Sept. 11. The judge will also review the search warrants before making an opinion about the evidence that was seized.

Those results include DNA evidence, blood work and toxicology reports. The mother testified in 2016 that she and Taylor had smoked marijuana and drank alcohol that night, according to court records. However, a deputy testified that Taylor didn’t appear to be overly intoxicated when he got to the scene.

Another topic during the hearing was the location of Taylor’s current incarceration. The defense said the suspect is being held at the Southwestern Regional Jail in Logan County. He said Jackson County inmates are typically held in the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston, calling it an inconvenience for the attorneys to have to drive to Southwestern to prep for trial. A prosecuting attorney said that she was told Taylor was relocated for his safety. She said she didn’t know any more details beyond that, and that it was her understanding that there was no ill intent behind the relocation. The prosecutor argued that this is not the time to question jail safety protocol, but the defense attorney followed that by saying he didn’t believe Southwestern had safety measures that South Central couldn’t provide.

The judge gave the state two weeks to look into the jail location issue. He also agreed that the prosecution’s findings should be sealed as to not release sensitive security information about the jails to the public.

Another pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Nov. 1. The trial is expected to begin in December.

Back in 2016, a family member of the mother told WSAZ, “You literally would have thought he was a Prince Charming, she was so lit up inside. He wanted to do things with her and he hung out with the kids.”

Investigators said they do not believe any of Emmaleigh‘s siblings were harmed.

UPDATE 3/23/17 @ 4 p.m.
A judge has set an August trial date for a West Virginia man accused of sexually assaulting and killing an infant girl.

Jackson County Circuit Clerk Bruce DeWees told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel on Wednesday that the trial for Benjamin Ryan Taylor was set to begin Aug. 8. Taylor is charged with murder, sexual assault and child abuse in the death last October of 10-month-old Emmaleigh Elizabeth Barringer.

Taylor told deputies he took the baby to the basement of an apartment but “blacked out” and didn’t know how the injuries occurred. Taylor’s public defender, Kevin Postalwait, declined to comment.

UPDATE 10/31/16 @ 11 a.m.
A man has been indicted of murder by a grand jury after the death of a 10-month-old girl.

Benjamin Taylor, of Cottageville, has been indicted on charges of murder, sexual assault and child abuse.

The incident happened October 3rd after the girl’s mother testified she found her daughter, Emmaleigh Barringer, in the basement unresponsive and covered in blood.

Taylor was questioned by deputies and changed his story multiple times.

Emmaleigh died October 5th of a skull fracture.

Taylor was indicted October 25 on two counts of 1st degree murder, one count of death of a child by child abuse, one count of 1st degree sexual assault and one count of sexual abuse by a guardian.

UPDATE 10/12/16 @ 11:45 a.m.
A grand jury will now hear the case against Benjamin Taylor who is charged with murder and sexual assault in the death of a 10-month-old girl.

The mother of Emmaleigh Barringer also testified Wednesday during Taylor’s preliminary hearing in Jackson County, W.Va.

Taylor was brought into the courtroom with a bulletproof vest with several deputies also on hand for extra security. There were also at least eight deputies outside the courthouse.

She said she woke up at 4:45 a.m. and went to the basement and found the baby covered in blood and unresponsive. She then started screaming at Taylor, who remained silent.

The mother then took the baby upstairs and called 911.

The mother testified that she and Taylor had smoked marijuana and drank alcohol that night, according to court records.

The deputy testified Taylor didn’t appear to be overly intoxicated when he got to the scene.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy says a skull fracture was the cause of death.

The defense didn’t cause any witnesses to the stand.

During the hearing, the magistrate found probable cause against Taylor and sent the case to the grand jury.

UPDATE 10/11/16 @ 12:05 a.m.
The grieving process continues for a whole community; trying to come to grips with the death of a 10-month-old child.

Monday night was the next step in that process, as the Ripley community came together for a candlelight vigil to honor the short life of Emmaleigh Barringer.

Kathie King was one of the event organizers with the advocacy group; Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, or CASA.

“There are a lot of people that have been really touched by this incident,” King said. “Hopefully we can have some healing within our community.”

Hundr in the community, from biker groups to batman, visited the vigil to pay their respects and to make sure tragedy sparks change.

Kaitlin Walker was one of several neighbors in attendance who hope Emmaleigh‘s death can be a catalyst for changes to the law.

“I would love to see this act create something to bring he death penalty back to West Virginia,” Walker said. “I think that is something that ne to be done immediately.”

Benjamin Taylor is charged with Emmaleigh‘s murder. According to a criminal complaint, Taylor sexually assaulted the 10-month-old almost exactly one week before the vigil mourning her death.

Others, like West Virginia CASA Executive Director, Traci Busch, say they hope they see a change in more community awareness when it comes to child abuse.

“Oftentimes the general people in the community don’t always understand the severity of it and the extent of it,” Busch said. “I hope that people come away with…that they do have the capability to help kids in their community and all they need to do is keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities and they’re out there.”

UPDATE 10/5/16 @ 11:35 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — News that baby Emmaleigh Barringer died rocked her family Wednesday, even though they knew early on her brain damage was so severe only a miracle would save her.

“The only way justice is going to be served is if he feels every ounce of pain that he caused her too,” explained Danielle Adkins.

Adkins is a first cousin of Emmaleigh‘s mother. The woman found her daughter on the basement floor Monday at her home in Ripley.

The baby girl was bloody and swollen. Left for dead after being physically and sexually assaulted.

Wednesday, Adkins said that her cousin held her daughter as she took her last breath.

“It wasn’t enough that he took her innocence, he had to take her life too.”

Investigators say the attack happened at the hands of her mother‘s boyfriend, Benjamin Taylor.

Taylor will be arraigned on a murder charge Thursday morning, according to Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs.

Adkins says that Taylor swept her cousin off her feet.

“You literally would have thought he was a Prince Charming, she was so lit up inside. He wanted to do things with her and he hung out with the kids.”

Sheriff Boggs says his department’s investigation is not over but the victim’s mother has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

He also says that he does not believe any of the victim’s siblings were harmed.

UPDATE 10/5/16 @ 3:30 p.m.
Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs tells WSAZ the 10-month-old infant who was sexually abused has died.

Emmaleigh Barringer was in the hospital being treated for injuries she received after being sexually abused Monday night. Her name was released late Wednesday by the sheriff.

Emmaleigh was declared brain dead earlier Wednesday, according to family members.

Boggs also said charges against Benjamin Taylor will be upgraded soon.

He also said while the investigation isn’t over yet, it appears that Emmaleigh‘s siblings were not harmed. Their mother has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 10/5/16 @ 10:35 a.m.
Family members tell WSAZ the 10-month-old infant that was sexually assaulted has been pronounced clinically brain dead.

Family members also say there is “very little hope” of her waking up.

Benjamin Taylor, 32, of Cottageville has been charged with first degree sexual assault.

Deputies say large amounts of blood were found on blankets and clothes in the basement where Taylor and the infant were believed to be.

According to the criminal complaint, Taylor did nothing to save the infant’s life from the injuries she suffered during the assault.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY 10/4/16
A 10-month-old baby is in critical condition after deputies she was sexually assaulted by a family friend.

Benjamin Taylor, 32, of Cottageville has been charged with first degree sexual assault.

According to the criminal complaint, deputies were called Monday to a house on Meadowlark Lane in Ripley.

When they arrived they found the baby’s mother holding the infant with a “significant” amount of blood on and around the child. The mother told deputies she found the baby naked in the basement of the apartment with the lights turned off.

Deputies then spoke with Taylor, who initially said he didn’t know how the injuries happened.

After being read his Miranda rights, Taylor said he took the infant to the basement of the house to do laundry earlier that evening.

When deputies questioned Taylor on how the infant received her injuries again, Taylor said he “blacked out” and didn’t know how they happened.

Deputies say large amounts of blood were found on blankets and clothes in the basement where Taylor and the infant were believed to be.

Taylor would change his story multiple times and deputies noticed Taylor trying to rub something off of himself.

After going to the hospital, deputies got a search warrant for Taylor’s clothing and a DNA sample.

While deputies were getting the sample they noticed blood on Taylor’s body they believe is from the infant.

According to the criminal complaint, Taylor did nothing to save the infant’s life from the injuries she sustained during the assault.

The baby has been taken to CAMC to receive treatment.

Taylor is being held at South Central Regional Jail on a $2 million bond.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.